Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Highs and Lows

Life is certainly a roller coaster full of highs and lows.  Two weeks ago I went to my surgeon for my last follow-up.  I thought for sure he would tell me to have a great life and stay off the hiking trails:) Instead he came into my room and broke the news to me that I have another fracture-straight up my tibia. I was shocked and frankly cried so hard I could not get it together.  It was pretty obvious it is broken and that more surgery would be required.  Blessedly the surgeon agreed that if I would get out my scooter and put no weight on it at all, I could still go on the mission trip I have been planning for 8 months for our group of 57!!

So with doctor's permission, off our whole family went on a mission trip to Philly with lots of friends and youth from church.  We took in a phillies baseball game, saw the Liberty Bell, and ate lunch at the Reading Terminal before checking into our campus dorms for our mission to start.  It was a wonderful trip and I am so thankful I could still go.  The whole week was amazing-watching our  adults and youth get split up into different ministry sites and serve so well around Philadelphia.  We had three give their hearts to the Lord for the first time, and several that want to get baptized now.  It was magical-we had six families go with lots of other teenagers.  Our day was filled with worship, bible study, ministry site work, and some downtime for showers and rest. 
Blessedly I got to serve with Mike, Kyle, David and all these other wonderful people at the homeless shelter named CHOC.  The staff at CHOC modeled true ministry to me everyday they were there.  They treated the homeless folks with respect and dignity and they are truly saving lives at this shelter.  I was so thankful to learn that my stereotype of a homeless person is actually very different than the reality.  We were encouraged to sit down and visit with the clients and I learned so much about life and grit from theses brave souls who came to CHOC for help.  Our group did some painting of walls for them, minor maintenance, and we were asked to design a mural on a wall!  Their goal is for CHOC to feel less sterile and more friendly and welcoming. 

While I was with the boys serving at the homeless shelter, this little love went to West Philly and played with children in the housing projects.  One of the chaperones sent me this and it melted my heart.  This girl has a heart for children and Jesus.
We will all remember 7/4/18 because we were in Philly serving the Lord.  We had a few hours of group time and we chose to go to see fireworks.  It was awesome to have such a large group with so many families participating in this trip.  It blows me away each year that parents take off from work to go sweat, get up early, chaperone teenagers, and sleep on crunchy and flat dorm mattresses for a whole week to invest in our youth.  Even on a scooter with limited mobility I had an amazing time.  It never gets old when teenagers ask you to pray with them and you get a front row seat of what God is doing in their lives.
Here is the mural our group painted and we added paintings from many of the clients to go on the wall!  It was amazing!
This is Mr. Charles who helps run CHOC.  He has literally and figuratively saved so many lives at CHOC in the last decade or so.  It is obvious he loves the Lord, loves his clients, and I was so thankful that he took time to teach our youth how to do small jobs.  They truly modeled genuine ministry.  I think sometimes we feel like "true ministry" has to be this expensive and overdone book or program, but Mr. Charles reminded me that ministry for the Lord involves listening, accepting folks for who they are, and helping them get their feet underneath them while showing friendship and love.  I will never forget those clients we met and how willing they were to share their stories and hearts with us.  It was a humbling reminder to me to never judge a book by its over. 

We came home from the trip with 6,978 loads of laundry and wonderful memories of serving together as a family.  Not even 36 hours after we got home, Mike and I were headed down the interstate to Kingsport for my third surgery on this ankle.  The ankle saga of 2018 has taught me so many lessons but here I am one day post-op and it hurts.  Sigh. 
One of the reasons I was so devastated to have more surgery is because David was scheduled to have his first ever visit at the survivors clinic at UVA.  Mike had to take him solo because I cannot travel this soon after surgery.  We are still waiting to hear about his echo and his labs, but everything else looks very good!  He is 5'1 and weighs 125 pounds!  Ha!  Here is David with Nurse Pat who is a legend and one of the best nurses ever.  She will be retiring in one month and I am so thankful Dave got to see her one last time.  The UVA pediatric oncology team will always be special to us. 

So I am so thankful for the wonderful memories we have already made with David's good checkup so far, our amazing trip to Philly, and lots of family time.  I am not thrilled to be back at square one with this stupid ankle, but I know our God can take everything and make it good:) He is so faithful!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Welcome Sweet summertime!

We are so thankful for summer!!!!!!! We are almost as busy in the summer as we are during the school year but it is mostly fun stuff! We have certainly had some Robinson highlights that I wanted to get documented.

This kid and his tennis team had a phenomenal season and made it to state!  We never dreamed Kyle would play #1 seed this year, but we watched them play some amazing tennis and earn a trip to state.  All six guys were so much fun to watch! Kyle's team not only won District, but Kyle won District for singles and he and Alex, his doubles partner, won district for doubles. 
Then after a match in the Regional tournament in Wise County that began at 5 and did not end until after midnight, they stunned Eastside and made it to the Regional Finals which also punched their ticket to the state tournament.  They lost to John Battle in Regional finals and here is Kyle with the runner-up trophy for Regionals.  Don't let his smile fool you.... he was not happy to be runner-up!  Ha!
Then we headed to Virginia Tech to play Galax in the first round of the state tournament.  Galax was tough and we were tied after singles.  The whole match literally came down to Duncan and Trey in #3 doubles in the third set.  We won!!
It was an exciting day to cheer on our boys at Virginia Tech-we had lots of fans including GG and Pops. 
Any parent of a teenager will tell you it is rare to capture a picture of your child much less with this big of a smile!!  Sarah Martin captured this at Virginia Tech when Kyle realized we may win the match!! 
The tennis boys had a weekend before the second round of state where they would once again face John Battle.  Half of the team came to church for youth Sunday and I was blessed enough to get to speak during the service that morning.  I preached on Mark 10.  I was so nervous!!

Sadly the next day the boys lost in a close heartbreaker to John Battle who went on to the state finals.  We were so close and Kyle was crushed.  It once again came down to the #3 doubles duo and they played their hearts out, but we fell a little short.  It brought to close a Cinderella season none of us could have imagined. 
As soon as the tennis match was over we headed up the interstate for summer league basketball.  His school team has played in lots of team camps and a summer league this month. Sarah Martin captured this picture of Kyle!
Summer also means the Nurture program at FUMC!  Once again our youth step us and show up each week to nurture the little ones that God sends to us.  We read books, play, eat, and have lots of educational fun.  Here is Kyle with one of my favorite kiddos ever!  If you heard my sermon on Mark 10 this the sweet preschooler I referenced who "ain't no loser!"
Another June highlight thus far was David being involved in Amber and Adam's wedding. This is the second wedding where one of David's helpers has gotten married and he was asked to be apart of the service.  He did amazing and the wedding was beautiful!!!!!!!!  Dave loves Amber and Adam but rest assured he still feels like he is the main squeeze in Amber's life:)
here is a family picture from the wedding just in case you need a reminder that Southwest Virginia is God's country. 
Well, after parenting for 16 years, we had a first around here this week-we hosted a sleepover.  Our best girl ever turned 9, and she had a sleepover.  It was precious and I loved every moment of having those girls over.  I cannot believe she is 9..... It was full of lots of giggles, lots of food, and a marathon of When Calls the Heart. 

I have also (with enormous help from Hope, bless her heart) have a full and big garden again this summer and just today I got my first little harvest from it.  It has been a challenge to put it in and keep it up with all the rain and my stupid ankle, but I am so thankful to garden again.  I have had many dark days where I have wondered if life will ever get back to normal after my fracture, but with Jesus, my Physical therapists, and my village of family and friends I am getting better each day!  Happy summer!!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter 2018

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love everything about it. Christmas kind of overwhelms me with its high expectations and hype, but Easter is awesome.   Easter is chill and low key and it is all about Jesus. It is my kind of holiday.

This year Easter has looked a little bit different in this house due to my unfortunate life sabbatical called broken ankle. No shopping trips for me for matching outfits for my kids, no easter egg dying, no decorations, nothing. I did not even make it to church today for the youth easter vigil fire or even one church service. 

Yet, this Easter has felt special.  It has felt somewhat holy to me because Jesus and I have had lots and lots and lots of time together in the past four weeks.  We have completed Beth Moore's Entrusted bible study together learning about Paul and Timothy and their ministry throughout Second Timothy.  I am also halfway through Lisa Harper's study of Mark.

 Not only have Jesus and I have spent lots of time together in His word, he has listened (hopefully patiently) to my many questions about my ankle.  "Why now Lord?"  "Why..... there was so much momentum going on within our youth-WHY????"   "Two surgeries, Lord?  TWO?? " "Four surgeons?"  "Wow God, you go big I guess...."

Blessedly I believe God can handle my whiny questions and has used this sabbatical to teach me lots of life lessons.  I am still processing them but this morning my pain woke me up a little after 5 a.m. when I should have been going to church with Kyle and the youth to attend the vigil fire.  I could not go back to sleep so I had my own easter vigil "fire" with my yankee candle, my bible, and Jesus.  It was beautiful and holy time with me and Jesus. 

I do not understand everything that happens on this side of heaven but I do trust who holds me in the palm of His hands.  Jesus.  He is everything to me.  As my one of my favorite Easter songs reminds me:

And as He Stands in Victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ 

One of the only traditions we held onto this year was our Easter morning resurrection rolls we make for breakfast.  They are yummy and a great reminder of Jesus' resurrection from the tomb.  I missed making them with my youth and preschoolers, but there is always next year. 

once the church crowd dispersed, we visited church as a family and placed a daffodil from our yard into the beautiful cross for Memaw.  Her last year she was alive she asked me and Hope to put her a "real pretty flower" onto the cross for her.  Memaw loved this tradition as much as we do and no broken ankle was going to keep us from placing her flower into the cross.  I also love that my kids dressed themselves for Easter today-Kyle wore this to the Easter vigil fire and sunrise service and David and Hope dressed themselves.  I love that God is teaching me what is truly important and matching outfits did not make the list this year. 

This sight always makes me smile and maybe shed a few happy tears.  It reminds me of my Memaw whom I miss so much, it makes me grateful for raising our children in church, for the love within these walls, and makes me thankful for a Savior who saved us from our sins. 

Easter..... you are my kind of holiday.  Yummy resurrection rolls, great chocolate, low expectations, and a focus on a living Savior makes for a great holiday.  Even a broken ankle could not keep us from enjoying this wonderful day.